Believe it or not, and don't let the title fool you, but Jerry Boy is a great game. I remember first seeing this game back in the December 1990 issue of EGM, under the title "Jelly Bean". In that incarnation, you played a little jelly bean with eyes, travelling across a photorealistic grassy landscape. The game eventually came out in Japan as Jerry Boy, and had graphics and terrain that were now more cartoony.

Jerry Boy is a platform adventure game from Epic/Sony. It is geared towards younger players, but I still found this highly enjoyable. The plotline is fairly straightforward. You're a young man named Jerry who is hanging out one day in the prince and princess' palace. A mysterious wizard comes along and kidnaps the princess and turns you into a jellylike character.

As the jelly boy, you are pretty weak. Your only lines of defence are in flattening or stretching your body to hit enemies, and in finding objects like balls to throw at them. You can also run by holding down the Y button. You can further stick to walls and ceilings by holding down the Y button as you jump towards them.

The world of Jerry Boy is pretty standard platformer fare, with all the requisite types of terrain. You advance through each level along a filmstrip map, and you can revisit previously-completed levels. Each level is a romp up and down hills, jumping between plaforms, and squeezing through pipes. There are many enemies that come in your way, but they're easy to dispatch. Scattered around each level are a number of plants that open up to reveal balls, power-ups, one-ups, seeds, and jumping enhancers. Finally, there are 5 letters that spell JERRY in each level. Picking them all up will net you a couple of one-ups.

In between every few levels, you come across an area where you can talk to people and carry the story along. These range from towns in the earlier levels, to an angel village, the insides of a whale, and an igloo village. Knowledge of Japanese is not essential in this game, as there is nowhere to get stuck. You don't have to talk to anybody, but talking to some people earns an extra life. The game is full of nice little touches like these, which lends it an air of gentleness, if such a thing is possible in an action game.

The graphics in Jerry Boy are bright and effective. They're not lush like the levels in Donkey Kong Country or Yoshi's Island, but they do the job just fine. Each level has its own group of landmarks and features. The enemy characters are also nicely done. They fall mostly into the "cute and cuddly" category, which might put off some gamers; but I think they're all adorable and still somewhat threatening.

The music is similarly effective. While not being the best music ever heard on the SNES/SFC, it still conveys the mood of each level perfectly. The first level music starts right away with a calypso bop, and the other level songs are alternately moody, ethereal, cute, or driving, to suit the mood of each level. The title and ending songs are suitably both epic in style. I definitely recommend getting the SPC music files for some easy listening game music.

In short, Jerry Boy is a cute little game that might have been unfairly overlooked when it came out in the early Nineties. As you can probably tell from the number of lives in the images above, it's not the most difficult of games. However, every element of the game manages to bring a smile to my face when I play it. Jerry Boy was released in America for the SNES system as Smartball, but unfortunately Sony removed the entire storyline from the game, as well as all the towns (and whale and angel village...) that you could visit in the Japanese version. So, Jerry Boy is a better and more enriching game than its U.S. conversion, even if the American cartridge is easier to find nowadays. I'm glad was able to get a cart of Jerry Boy! Keep an eye out for it!

Jerry Boy English Translation. I've translated the Super Famicom game Jerry Boy. The IPS patch file is in the archive above.